January 30, 2013

Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

This Christmas we wanted to give friends something different, something unique.  So, we started a new "hobby"...  we became moonshiners! (Somebody out there in blogland, please tell me you like this show as much as we do?!  Oh the suspense of almost getting caught making bootleg liquor!)

Ok, so I admit it's not real moonshine.  We don't have a still hidden somewhere in the Alaskan wilderness. We're not that crazy. All it took was a couple of simple ingredients, a very large pot and some alcohol that I'm pretty sure could be used as nail polish remover.

So what did people think?  We got a few different reactions when they read the word "moonshine" on the tag - A chuckle followed by a "No you didn't" or an immediate upturned nose.  But as soon as they got past the name, and maybe the burning sensation in their nose, and as soon as it touched their lips, everybody loved it!  

The apple pie flavor is spot on and you can either enjoy it as a sipper or by adding it to a hot-tottie. But, a word to the wise:  Don't drink too much, or you might have a wicked headache the next day (as told to me by a coworker who shall remain nameless).

So if you're feeling adventurous, or in need of a really unique gift, you can find the recipe below.  It's as simple as pie. (haha, get it?!)

apple pie moonshine recipe

Apple Pie Moonshine

  • 1/2 galloon apple juice
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 bottle of everclear (or other high proof liquor)

apple pie moonshine recipe

  1. Mix first 6 ingredient in large pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer, allowing sugar to dissolve.
  3. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. Mix in Everclear.
  5. Pour in mason jars.
apple pie moonshine recipe

Would you try this recipe? What is your favourite homemade gift?


January 26, 2013

Life Begins After Coffee

Life begins after coffee. True story.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling a little bit under the weather.  The winters here are so dry, so waking up with a scratchy throat counts as feeling "under the weather". Steve crawled out of bed saying he wasn't going to make coffee if I wasn't getting up.  With a scratchy man voice I said "ok", fully expecting it to be opposite day and to still wake up to a fresh pot.  But, an hour later, I walked into the kitchen and inhaled to the smell of... nothing.  

My morning coffee dictates how my day is going to go.  A good, strong cup of joe? Wonderful day.  No coffee until I get to work?  That's pushin' it. No coffee at all?  Brain = mush. If I'm not feeling well, a cup of coffee instantly perks me up, or calms me down. "You have a serious coffee problem", Steve says.  Yes, yes I do. 

So, why is it that life truly does begin after coffee? Why does coffee make everything better?

Is it the routine, of getting up every morning and making a pot of coffee before any thing else? Is it the taste?  Is it a social thing? Or is it the comfort of a warm cup on a cold winter day?

For me, it's not necessarily the taste that I enjoy, I can think of plenty of beverages I would rather sip on that taste much better. It's definitely social.  I love a good a coffee date with a good friend.  It's something we have in common, something that brings us together. But also, the comfort. Yes, definitely the comfort. It's the comfort I find in sitting on the couch in my pjs, with a blanket wrapped around me and large cup of coffee in my hand, similar to what I'm doing right now. 

So yes, I have may a problem, but with the long, dark and cold Alaskan winter days, its hard not to have a coffee addiction.  That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

How do you like your coffee?


January 22, 2013

Staycation: Anchorage Museum

People often take for granted everything their own city has to offer - you go from work to home and back and neglect the fact that you live in a thriving city, with an abundance of activities just outside your door. Why not appreciate the place you live, and even see it in a whole new light? 

No matter how long you've lived there, it's always an adventure to see the city you live in through the eyes of the tourist. Not only is a staycation going to save you time, money and stress, what you find just might surprise you.

So, when was the last time you became a tourist in your own city?


We recently became tourists in our own city and visited the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.  (My first visit in 2.5 years, shame on me.) Oh, what a magical place it is! And, with the Rasmuson name attached to it, you know it will not disappoint.

What began as a public-private partnership to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia, has quickly grown from an exhibition of 2,500 loaned objects to a more permanent collection that now numbers over 25,000 objects and artifacts! It is a museum devoted to the cultures, imagination, creativity and innovative spirit of the people of Alaska and gives its visitors opportunities to immerse themselves in lifelong learning and cultural expression.

Alaska has such an interesting history, from the gold rush to statehood to oil development and everything before, after and in between. Reading through the articles and stories, scanning the displays and listening to the narrations, gave us a real appreciation of life in Alaska - the way of life long before Alaska was Alaska, long before technology was born and even the way of life, still, for some Alaskans today.

Alaska fascinates us.  So, for a few hours we immersed ourselves in Alaskan culture, learning many new things about the place we live and love.

Things like,

+  the species that are so important to, and characteristic of, the great state...

+  the diversity of the city we currently call home...

+  and the importance of hunting and fishing as a means of subsistence, in the past, present and into the future...  

... among much, much more!

The Anchorage Museum is currently one of the top ten visited attractions in Alaska, and for very good reason.  So, if you are in the Anchorage area at all, make an afternoon out of visiting the Anchorage Museum.

Have you ever been a tourist in your own city?


January 18, 2013


When people hear I work at a zoo, their first comment is usually something like "Cool! With the polar bears? The tigers?" They get really really excited about it, until I break the news to them.  "No, I don't work with the polar bears, or the tigers, or even the wolves..."  The look on their face immediately goes from "You're so cool!" to "Ugh, that's lame".  But then I start to tell them about the animals I do get to work with - the owls, the hawks, the porcupines, the fox, the musk ox girls and a certain dall sheep lamb.  I like to call them the "quirkier" animals of the Zoo.  And all of a sudden, they're intrigued.  Intrigued with me being able to take a porcupine on an outreach, take a Dall sheep lamb for a walk, harness train a red fox or even handle an owl.  I'm instantly cool again. 

I have many zoo experiences, stories and memories that will stick with me forever, but there's one that I will never forget... the story of the two little musk ox girls. Those quirky little musk ox. (If you want to refresh your memory, you can read herehere, here and here.)

Most people are so confused with my infatuation for this amazing animal.  "Musk ox? They're so hairy and big.  What's so special about them?" But then, they get it when they see my relationship with these two "little" girls.  That I know the spots to scratch or that I have to be sneaky when I go to leave or else they won't let me. That I know their little quirks. They see the special relationship I have with these girls and suddenly I'm cool again. 

I helped raise these two. Maya since she was a day old and Katie since she was about 2 weeks old.  We used to play soccer with them, take them for walks around the zoo and we even took them on an outreach downtown once (that's another interesting story, for another time).  As they got bigger and stronger, and their horns got longer, we stopped working with them.  My relationship went from scratching the spots every day to just saying "Hi" as I walked by.

Yesterday that changed.  Yesterday, I went and socialized with them.  I can't even tell you how long it's been. Sure, I was a little nervous at first.  Those horns were so long.  Maya is so big. So many questions ran through my head, "What if they don't remember me?" "What if they're way too strong for me?"  "What if things don't go well?"  All valid questions, remember, they're still wild animals.

But what happened the second I stepped into their habitat, made my heart skip a beat. It instantly made my week (and what a week it's been). It reminded me why I love animals, especially the quirky ones.  I think their hearts may have skipped a beat as well, because they rushed over to me, with a hop in their step.  All of that time we spent training, socializing, building a relationship with them, they still remembered. Maya, the largest, and strongest, of the two, immediately came up to me and rested her head against my stomach.  Something so big and solid, most likely well over 250 pounds by now, and something that could have easily pushed me over, was so gentle.  It was like she was 25 pounds and a day old again.  She remembered me!  She still loves me!  I immediately starting scratching the spot that she used to love, she leaned into my legs, but gently enough so she didn't knock me over. When she was done with the scratches, we moved on to playing soccer.  All she wanted to do was play soccer with me.  For me to kick the ball to her so she could push it around with that strong head.

And so that is what we did, we played soccer.  I played soccer with my quirky little musk ox girl and loved every minute of it (which in a sense, may make me quirky as well).

Try doing that with a polar bear.

What's your favorite animal?  Is it something popular? Or something quirky?


January 15, 2013

AK Beer Week

The title of this post caught your eye didn't it?  Well, you're in luck because it's all about BEER!

I never used to like beer.  Not even if it was for flip cup, or beer pong or even if it was cold certified.  However, my attitude, and palette, changed when we moved to the Land of the Midnight Sun, or more appropriately, the Land of Microbreweries. Now, my mouth waters at the sight of a local IPA. From one extreme to the next. I am now a beer snob.

This week is Alaska Beer Week, a 10-day celebration of craft, or microwbrew, beers in Alaska.  The week centres around the Great Beer & Barleywine Festival, a showcase of 200 different microbrews and barley wines from over 50 regional breweries. It's the best of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The festival, which is now in its 19th year, has become the world's premier winter brew event. You better believe I won't be missing it.

When visiting Alaska, most people have a list of foods they want to try.  First on the list is usually king crab, followed by halibut and salmon.  Maybe even throw in a reindeer sausage or two. But, do you ever think about the refreshments? Make sure you add a frosty pint of a local microbrew to your Alaskan bucket list. 

Microbreweries in Anchorage
Those not familiar with the term, "microbrew" is beer brewed in a small commercial brewery, no more than 15,000 barrels of beer per year.  It is brewed and distributed on a regional basis, with an emphasis on the quality of the product, rather than its mass production. 

It's not the flashy commercials or the catchy slogans that give these beers their popularity (although some do have some pretty cool names, i.e. Panty Peeler) , it's the story behind them. And whether they come from a family-run microbrewery or a group of guys in their garage, the love and care that goes into brewing these beers is what gives them the high quality.  It's this high quality that has made Alaska one of the nation's craft brewing leaders and successfully turned this once beer hater into a beer snob. 

Midnight Sun's Panty Peeler (one of my favs) // Kassik's Beaver Tail Blonde Ale // Alaskan's Summer (my bro's fav) // Anchorage Brewing Company's Bitter Monk Belgian Style

So, if you ever venture up to Alaska, make sure you delight all your senses and acquaint yourself with an Alaskan microbrew.

What is your favorite type of beer? 


January 14, 2013


January 14, 2013, 5:20pm.

We had 6 hours and 22 minutes of daylight today.  It's dinner time and I can still see the mountains from our apartment window. The days are finally getting longer.

The temperature is 44 degrees F (6 degrees C).  It's raining and the snow has almost melted. The days, and nights, have been much warmer lately.

Things are changing.


January 11, 2013

Let's Do It Again: Friday Confessional {Linkup}

Let's try this again (it's kind of fun). 

Linking up with A Blonde Ambition again this week for Confessional Friday!

I confess,

... The thought of seeing my wonderful fiance back on skates excites me more than anything right now.  He has worked so hard to get himself back into game shape since he broke his leg during a game in October.

... We have become serious beer snobs since moving to AK.  It's hard not to in the land of microbreweries.  Not necessarily a bad thing now, but whenever we're back in the land of the controlled beer sales, where microbreweries are few and far between, it will be a very expensive habit.

... We have had a lot of game nights lately.  I think Catch Phrase is by far my favourite.

... I know all of the words to Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend", and can nail the rap.  Surprised? Impressed? Embarrassed? All of the above?

... I just bought 11 bridesmaids dresses.  I only need 4.  Luckily Nordstrom has a fantastic return policy.

... I am in need of a Vitamin D fix.  Mr. Sun where are you?!

Enjoy your Friday!


January 6, 2013

December Sparkle & Cheer

December was eventful.  In a very good way.  Visits from BFFs, "family" dinners, sparkle and cheer. (Because it's not the holiday season without some sparkle and cheer.)

The only thing December lacked, was some wedding planning.  (Which could be a problem and something we need to kick back into gear.)

So, here is the best way to remember the last month of 2012 for our Alaskan Staycation, in photos.

This poor moose seriously got himself in one...

These two were taking in the beauty...

It was a cold one, but at least the sun was shining...

And for the Christmas sparkle and cheer...

How did you spend the last month of 2012?


January 3, 2013

20 Things

I've met some pretty incredible people since joining this tight-knit hockey community several years back.  Some I have gotten to know in person and some are friends of friends. Some I have lost contact with, some I still occasionally keep in touch with and some are stuck with me for life. 

Today I am linking up with one of those incredible people, Kym, over at Travel Babbles , to bring you "20 Things You Should Know About Me". Hopefully you all still want to be my friend after this one...

20 Things You Should Know About Me

 This is me (drinking wine). About right.

1.  I am a perfectionist, but also one of the messiest people around.

2.  We have a pet mouse and I talk to him like he is a person and talks back.

3.  My middle name is Rae.  I used to hate it, now I embrace it.

4.  I am obsessed with pickles and olives.  Obsessed. And no, I am not pregnant.

5. My biggest pet peeve is when people spell my last name wrong, even after I've spelled it out for them.

6.  I used to play hockey when I was younger, but my heart belongs to soccer.

7.  I think flowers are a waste of money.

8.  When I am hungry and do not get food fast enough, I turn into a huge "B".

9. My second pet peeve is easily polar bears and penguins, together.  They would never be friends in real life.

10. I am rarely ever late, and if I am it's for a very very good reason.

11. I have "Bieber Fever".  It was my New Years Resolution to get rid of it.  

12. I wish I was good at crafting. I can never stick with one thing because I get bored easily.

13. I have zero self control when it comes to chips, especially kettle cooked bbq lays.

14. I am not a fan of chocolate.

15. I am allergic to shellfish.

16. I have an irrational fear of buildings collapsing.

17. I cannot tolerate spicy food.

18. My body is out of proportion.  My short legs do not match my long torso, long fingers or long toes.

19. I work with animal pee and poop and even raw meat every day, but seeing/hearing vomit makes me very very queasy.

20. I am referred to as "the General" at home.  Woman. of. the. house.

Everyone's got their quirks and those are just a few of mine in a nutshell. Do you still want to be my friend?

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